Occupants exposed to far-side crashes are those seated on the side of the vehicle opposite the struck side. This study uses the NASS/CDS 1988-98 to determine distributions of AIS 3+ injuries among occupants exposed to far-side crashes and the sources of the injuries. The William Lehman Injury Research Center (WLIRC) data from 1994-98 is used to assess injury mechanisms among seriously injured crash exposed far-side occupants.
The NASS/CDS indicated that injury patterns for far-side restrained drivers were different from far-side restrained front passengers. For the driver, the head accounted for 40% of the AIS 3+ injuries in far-side collisions and the chest/abdomen accounted for 45.5%. For the right front passengers, head injuries contributed 27.2%, while chest and abdominal injuries accounted for 64.5%. The opposite-side interior was the most frequent contact associated with driver AIS 3+ injuries (30.5%). The seat belt was second, accounting for 22.6%. Among thirteen WLIRC cases of far-side belted occupants with MAIS 3+ injuries, five of the most serious injuries were attributed to the seat belt. The liver or the spleen was the most seriously injured body organ in all five cases.
The seat was the most frequent source of passenger AIS 3+ injuries for the NASS/CDS weighted cases. However, non-contacts, contacts with other occupants, and the seat belt contacts were more frequent sources when considering the raw number of injuries.
Overall, contacts with the opposite side of the car interior and with safety belts were the most frequent causes of AIS 3+ injuries in far-side crashes. The presence of an occupant on the near-side changed the injury pattern of the far-side occupant, mitigating injuries from contacts with the opposite side interior of the vehicle.